Wilms' Tumor

Wilms' tumor is a cancer that typically occurs in children. It is a quite dangerous form of tumor that can be, however, successfully cure when the diagnosis is made in time. Wilms' tumor is the most common kidney cancer of the child’s age. It is named after a German surgeon Wilms who studied this tumor in the 20th century.


The tumor grows from the embryonic kidney tissue. The exact cause of its development is not known, but we blame the genetics causes. This is supported by the fact that the Wilms' tumor has frequent familial occurrence.


The tumor is initially asymptomatic, but later it causes enlargement of the abdomen and presence of blood in urine. The child usually feels generally sick and suffers from weakness, weight loss and loss of appetite. Disorders of kidney tissue may cause hypertension.


The tumor tissue can be felt during palpation of the abdomen. However, when the suspicion occurred, the palpation should not be repeated as it may cause dissemination of the cancer cells into the body. The bets examination method is abdominal ultrasound, which can find the tumor mass and evaluate its size and precise location.


The ideal solution is surgical removal of the tumor mass and the affected kidney. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are used rather as supportive methods in combination with the surgery. When the therapy is aggressive enough and it is started in time, the results are satisfactory and many children survive.


Jiri Stefanek, MD  Author of texts: Jiri Stefanek, MD
 Contact: jiri.stefanek@seznam.cz
 Sources: basic text sources